Sad­dlers’ Smith left fum­ing at ref D’Urso

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Michael Beard­more

THERE was no love lost be­tween Dean Smith and ref­eree Andy D’Urso as the Sad­dlers boss held the of­fi­cial accountable for Vale’s Valen­tine’s victory.

D’Urso de­nied Wal­sall what looked a clear firsthalf penalty for Vale loan debu­tant Ryan In­niss’ chal­lenge on Jordy Hi­wula.

And the ref­eree al­lowed Tom Pope’s win­ner for Vale to stand de­spite the Sad­dlers howl­ing for a foul on de­fender Andy Tay­lor.

A fum­ing Smith said: “The whole game hinges on that de­ci­sion – it’s a stonewall penalty and a red card. Game over.

“Every­body else in the ground thought it was a penalty, even their bench.Why would Jordy go down when he’s go­ing to score?

“There looked to be a foul for their goal as well. Pope has climbed all over Andy Tay­lor and headed the ball in.

“The ref has given free­kicks like that all game – why doesn’t he do it when it’s in the box? Two de­ci­sions in both boxes didn’t go for us and if they had, we would have won the game.

“First half we were ex­cel­lent and Vale were hang­ing on at the end of it – it was a smash and grab for them.

“But sec­ond half we were av­er­age.We didn’t re­ally work their goal­keeper enough but they banked in, made it very dif­fi­cult for us and had a goal to hang on to.”

Wal­sall be­gan well with Vale keeper Chris Neal grate­ful Ro­maine Sawyers’ shot from 12 yards was straight at him be­fore Hi­wula’s ap­peals for a foul against Crys­tal Palace man In­niss fell on deaf ears.

And just mo­ments af­ter Wal­sall keeper Richard O’Don­nell saved well from Ben Wil­liamson, Pope got away with climb­ing on the back of Tay­lor to head home the im­pres­sive Carl Dickinson’s cross.

Wal­sall were un­lucky not to earn a point as the ex­cel­lent Sawyers rat­tled the post from 20 yards and then put Hi­wula through early in the sec­ond half, only for the Man City loa­nee to dink wide.

Vale held out to move one place be­hind Wal­sall in a con­gested midtable. Vale boss Rob Page said:“The dis­ci­pline of our de­fend­ing was ex­cel­lent and I thought we thor­oughly de­served the three points and the clean­sheet. Clean sheets have been a bit of a bug­bear for us, we’ve been leak­ing goals that we could do with­out so to get one to­day was ter­rific.

“I thought the penalty in­ci­dent could have gone ei­ther way, if I’m hon­est, but some­times you need a bit of luck in foot­ball.

“I’ve said to the boys at the end, that’s the level of per­for­mance that we want week in, week out.

“We’ve got to do that con­sis­tently.”


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